Summary: If we dwell in the presence of God moment by moment, then we look to the Christ within to find His abiding presence.
BOW OUR KNESS BEFORE THE FATHER
Good News Christian Fellowship
BUCA, Daraga, albay
February 26, 2006
Have you ever watched the stars in the night so stunningly beautiful and awesome that you spend hours ponder its beauty- that you longed to be part of it? Or have you ever heard music so poignant and sweet that it made your heart ache- made you long to hear fully the eternal music that distantly echoes in your soul?
The greatness of God is higher than our words can reach, farther than the imagination can stretch, vaster than our hearts can encompass.
Paul, after passing through the series of pain and trials then on the way to Prison, he discovers quite something beautiful and wonderful- in the presence of God. In His presence he fined the greatest joy and, in turn, is a joy to the Lord. Paul expressed God’s greatness in a prayer that is deeper than poetry.
Let’s kneel beside Paul, seeking to more deeply experience God’s extravagant, unimaginable, glorious love.
THE REASON (vv.14-15)
In Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul is on his knees once again. He is concerned about these Ephesians. What prompted this prayer, which had been mounting in Paul’s heart for some time?
Paul’s prayer begins with the expression, “For this reason….” What prompted Paul to be on his knees?
It was the awesome of God’s mysterious plan: to redeem fallen men, both Jews and Gentiles, for the praise of His glory and grace (see Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). Because God has purposed and provided for the salvation and sanctification of Gentiles, as well as Jews, and because God has called Him to proclaim the Gospel to the Gentiles, Paul now prays for the Ephesians saints, to whom he writes. Paul’s prayer is consistent with God’s purpose.
Note the things for which Paul does not pray, the very things for which we often pray. Paul does not pray for …
• The material prosperity of the Ephesians saints
• Their prevention, removal, or quick relief from pain
• Their physical health and well-being
• Their emotional or psychological well-being
• A transforming or ecstatic spiritual experience
Paul didn’t pray all of these things. His prayer is shaped by the purposes of God. What he (WE) can pray for is that which God has purposed and promised, and which He has assured us He will accomplish, to His glory and to our good.
THE PRAYER (vv.16-19b)
How appropriate to come before the father, since through Christ’s we’ve been adopted into His family. But how unexpected for Paul to be on his knees! However, it wasn’t customary for the Jews to bow their knees in prayer. People in Paul’s day usually stood while praying. When they knelt, they did so to show deep adoration, submissiveness, and urgency.
I am not stressing what position is best while praying. It is the intense of our heart to pray that does matter. What are the things we pray for?
Now let’s look closely what Paul pray for and should be our prayer as well.
A. Strengthened through His Spirit (v.16) The first request is for strength and power in the inner being- our innermost being made alive in Christ- with the Holy Spirit giving power. This “power” interestingly, is the opposite of what happens when we “lose heart” (3:13) Instead of giving up to the problems, trials, pain and circumstances, Paul wanted us to grow in the Spirit’s power, to turn more and more to God and His hope.
We are strengthened with might by his Spirit into the inner man, that is, in the deepest part of his being, in his spirit- in the spirit that God has renewed. That is what our human spirits are for -- they are to drink of the Spirit of God, so that the Spirit of God is able to refresh us and revitalize us. Just as taking a drink refreshes your body, so drinking of the Spirit refreshes your spirit, at the deepest level of your life.
However, be reminded this is not about feeling. This is not about seeking instant good relief. We seek some instant sense of relief. Well, relief will come, but it doesn’t start there. It starts down at the level of the spirit, and may be nothing more than some consciousness of reassurance that things are going to work out eventually.
Ask God for conquering strength and power: the Holy Spirit of God. Ask God to grant you that your spirit will receive a new infusion of strength, that you can drink again of the river of the Spirit of life which is in you, and that your spirit will be restored so that you can begin to operate as God intended you to.
Pray that God may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit into the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. As Christians, Christ already lives in our hearts through His Spirit- this happens at the moment of our salvation. What Paul means dwell was that, through our ever-maturing faith, we would let Christ more and more “be at home” in us- that we would more consistently put Christ at the center of our lives, letting HIM shape our lives.